Supreme Court upholds federal policy requiring patients to pick up mifepristone in person

The US Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a 5-4 decision that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy requiring patients seeking mifepristone to pick up the pill in person at a hospital, clinic, or medical office be reinstated.

Image by William Murphy from Pixabay

Three lower courts had blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s in-person pick-up requirement for mifepristone during the coronavirus pandemic, citing the risks of contracting COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or a hospital.

The drug mifepristone was approved by the FDA 20 years ago for use in medical abortions in early pregnancy.

Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project said, “The Court’s ruling rejects science, compassion, and decades of legal precedent in service of the Trump administration’s anti-abortion agenda. It is mind-boggling that the Trump administration’s top priority on its way out the door is to needlessly endanger even more people during this dark pandemic winter — and chilling that the Supreme Court allowed it. The Biden-Harris administration must right this wrong on day one and hold firm to its commitment to support both evidence-based regulations and reproductive freedom.”

The Christian Law Association said of the ruling: “Without this vital rule, this ‘easy access’ to abortion drugs through the mail would not only encourage quick abortions but also put the mother’s life at risk who did not have a doctor’s consult about her personal health first. In fact, this particular abortion drug has been linked to outright deaths of the mother. Pro-abortion advocates initially pushed for this rule to be suspended using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse, but the end goal was clearly to permanently remove the rule to encourage easier and quicker abortions.”

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